Devotion for September 2012

You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image — in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth, (Eph 4:22-24).

The common view on man’s salvation practiced among Jews was based on God’s words where it says, “you will therefore keep my statutes and my rules; which if a person does them, he will live by them . . .” (Lev 18:5). Forasmuch as keeping God’s statues and rules seemed very difficult, the religious leaders developed the numerous regulations to make the yoke of law lightly. Likewise it can be seen from the 5th commandment, “Honor your father and your mother.” As a providing support for aging parents on the regular basis seemed difficult, the rabbis replaced the filial responsibility by donations to the temple named ‘corbanas,’
(sacred treasury), (Mr 7:11-12). If followed it allowed a seemingly easy to be up to sample of a righteous man.

Then, how did Jesus response on this? First of all, he condemned the inventors of men’s traditions and their successors who by their regulations and restrictions abolished God’s law. Secondly, he emphasized men’s hopelessness to fulfill God’s commandments. As we read from Mark 10 there was a rich man who thought that he stood at one step from earning eternal life by his own virtues. In the public discourse with Jesus he said that he has kept God’s commandments since he was a boy. But when he had heard from Jesus that his final step to
salvation demanded the extremely charitable act – the man “lost the war!” In response to this and especially to Jesus’ remark that for people it is terribly hard to get into God’s kingdom, a question arose among the attendants, “How can anyone ever be saved?”

Significantly, Jesus solved the problem of our salvation not by inventing the new regulations as Jewish scholars did. When we agree that “With man it is impossible, but not with God,” we are able to move from the rabbinic theology of the Law to the Christ’s theology of grace. The faithfulness to the Law must yield place to Christ. As it is written, “whoever believes in him will not be put to shame,” (Rom 9:33).

Since we realized that the Father has mercifully forgiven our sins for Christ’s sake, we shouldn’t allow the false idea of “cheap grace” to build its nest in our mind. Yes, our transgressions of God’s law are not remembered any more, but it doesn’t mean that Jesus shed his blood on the cross and made us the partakers of the New Covenant so that we feel free to commit sin without restrictions.

It is impossible to tolerate the former sinful life being a slave of the mortal flesh because we received the Spirit by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” Therefore, being born in the spiritual body of the resurrected Christ, we enter into the fellowship with all saints by the new and living way that breaths eternal life into our mortal bodies.

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